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E-Learning, Innovation, and Teaching Excellence (ELITE)

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Welcome to the ELITE website! ELITE team is committed to providing excellence and leadership to the diverse MC community in the areas of instructional professional development, learning technology support and college-wide academic initiatives. We hold ourselves accountable to seek and provide practical, innovative solutions to enhance the learning experience of faculty, staff and students.

You can now access workshop material through The Hubnew window, which serves as an online repository of teaching tips and strategies created by Montgomery College faculty and to provide a virtual space for faculty to discuss innovative teaching ideas. 

Need to record videos for your class or for your department projects? The One Button Studio (OBS) is a simplified video recording setup that you can use to create high-quality video projects without having any previous experience with computers, software, lights, or cameras. Take the One Button Studio Tour!

Latest News
Transition to Blackboard Learn Ultra

ELITE is pleased to announce that Montgomery College is embarking on an exciting journey this Spring: the transition from Blackboard Learn Original to Blackboard Learn Ultra. This upgrade to our Learning Management System (LMS) will unfold over the next 18 months and will be executed in three strategic phases. 

Why Blackboard Learn Ultra?

This transition is about enhancing our educational environment in addition to upgrading our technology. Blackboard Learn Ultra offers:

  1. A Simplified, Modern Interface: Faculty will benefit from a reduced administrative load, allowing more focus on teaching and student interaction.
  2. Enhanced Student Accessibility and Engagement: Students can access materials, participate in discussions, and submit assignments anytime, anywhere. The design is mobile friendly, ensuring all students have equal access.
  3. Improved Analytics and Reporting: With advanced tools, faculty can gain insights into student engagement and performance, aiding in more effective teaching strategies.
  4. Continuity: Blackboard Learn Original and Blackboard Learn Ultra both fall under the same LMS, which means transitioning to Blackboard Learn Ultra will ensure an uninterrupted teaching and learning experience for faculty, students, and staff at Montgomery College.

Learn More

After Blackboard was acquired by Anthology in 2021, the parent company decided a year later that it was going to sell Blackboard Collaborate to Class Technologies. Montgomery College faculty have been supporters and users of Collaborate for the better part of the decade; while Collaborate has a strong core of regular users, many of MC's faculty have migrated to Zoom since the Covid-19 pandemic. With our Class Collaborate Ultra contract expiring on June 30,2024, we are asking faculty to migrate to Zoom. Zoom has added a number of new features such as notes, clip and surveys to go along with the whiteboard and online polls. It is much more user friendly for the classroom environment than it was just a few years ago.

See full information on Blackboard Collaborate Ultra websitenew window.

Alisha Small student photo
Online Learning at MC: Accessible and Accommodating

Being a mother of three young children and owning a business, Montgomery College (MC) student Alisha Small knows how difficult it is to maintain a work-life balance. In addition to taking care of her children and working full-time, Alisha also goes to school in the evening. Thankfully, at MC, she gets the option to take online classes, which provides the accessibility and accommodation for someone who is juggling multiple things in their life.

"I am a mom of three so taking online courses allowed me to be flexible in my schedule," said Alisha. "I was able to run my business in the morning time and then be there with my children."

Last fall, Alisha was able to complete a Coaching Certification that was done completely online. For her, it was one of the best experiences she had with taking online classes.

"The biggest thing was that I was able to still further my education and do what I had to do as far as motherhood is considered," said Alisha.

And Alisha is not the only student who praises the online learning options at MC. Some of the fully online degrees at the College have won several awards in recent years. The College was voted the 2022 Best Online Associate Degrees in Criminal Justice by the Student Training & Education in Public Service.

Furthermore, also selected MC for the 2022 Best Online Community Colleges and Best Online Associate Computer Science. Currently, the College offers 20 fully online degrees and certificates (12 degrees and 8 certificates).

Dr. Nader Chaaban, the Collegewide Communication Studies Coordinator, says online classes have provided his students more opportunities to communicate, share, and participate in class. For his in-person classes, sometimes he finds that the shy students tend not to speak up much.

"We have shy students in class who don't want to talk and share information," said Dr. Chaaban. "They don't want to say anything."

However, when it comes to his online classes, every student participates frequently in the discussion board item.

"The discussions that they have online are robust, and they just discuss about everything," said Dr. Chaaban.

Dr. Cristin Cash, Professor of Art History, adds that when it comes to online classes, she has much more flexibilities as an instructor.

"I actually get to kind of work one-on-one when it's distance learning," said Dr. Cash. "Just me, the students, and the work they're doing."

Moreover, online teaching gives her the flexibility to not only give students direct feedback but also to really understand where each student is in the class and help them figure out their way to succeed.

As Najah Mills explains, online learning has allowed her the freedom to essentially complete work anywhere as long as she has a mobile device. Najah, also a mother of two young children, loves online classes because she can create her own schedule while still getting the support from her peers, classmates, and professors.

Richa D'Mello, a STEM student, appreciates the option to take some courses online due to her busy schedule.

"I started Montgomery College last year in August as an international student," said Richa. "Without online classes, I don't think that I would've made it this far."

Her first few classes were done remotely via Zoom at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and some were done completely online without a specific meeting time.

"Having those options for my classes made it so much easier for me to keep up with all the different classes I was taking," said Richa.

Best Criminal Justice Degree - STEPS

MC has been recognized as one of the best colleges in the nation for online public service degree programs. Just under 6 percent of postsecondary institutions received this honor in 2022. 

RENO, Nev. (PRWEB) May 17, 2022 - Montgomery College has been ranked one of the year’s best schools for online degrees in public service by STEPS (Student Training & Education in Public Service). Just under 6 percent of colleges and universities in the U.S. earned a ranking position.

See where MC ranked on the full list by visiting Best Online Associate Degrees in Criminal window

“STEPS wanted to find the colleges with the best overall public service education available online. This included degree programs with top-notch academics, support services for students and affordability of enrollment,” said Kyle Smith, community outreach specialist at STEPS. “Identifying and acknowledging these schools is critical as more students look toward online higher education options in a post-pandemic era.”

This ranking comes at a time when enrollment in online degree programs is on the rise. A recent study from market research company, Technavio, found that online higher education has the potential to grow by 20 percent over the next four years. 

“MC is one of the few colleges today prioritizing online learning to meet student demand,” said Smith. "Adding online programs also promotes diversity in higher education, opening doors to those who may not have easy access to a campus-based classroom.”

STEPS analyzed multiple datasets from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), as well as data collected from the schools themselves. Key data points used to identify top schools include the following: 

  • Number of online programs in a given subject area
  • Tuition and fees per academic year
  • Percentage of students receiving institutional financial aid
  • Existence of academic counseling
  • Offering of career placement services

STEPS vetted an estimated 7,700 postsecondary institutions to create its rankings. To qualify, a college or university must hold active regional accreditation from an agency approved by the U.S. Department of Education, and have at least one partially online public service program.


STEPS new windowstarted in 2019 with the goal of connecting students with valuable and informative resources to help them get their degrees and find satisfying careers in public service. These free guides range from connecting students with online schools to breaking down options for affording a degree. 

Blackboard has reorganized the My Institution Tab and replaced this feature with a streamlined interface called Base Navigation. On Thursday, May 19, 20222, the new Base Nav Menu will appear.

The Ultra Base Navigation is the experience you have outside of a course. Blackboard removed all of the My Institution tabs and modules and created a streamlined menu (Ultra Base Navigation), which includes the Institution area and several other features.  

Although the interface looks different, base navigation does not impact the design of your course.  In addition, your course building experience remains unchanged, and you retain all the same features that were previously in your Blackboard course.  For students, the navigation experience within a course remains the same, the only difference is the streamlined menu that Blackboard has added which replaces the My Institution Tab. 

Please see documents below for more information:

MC Forward Podcastnew window is a leadership podcast hosted by Dr. Michael Mills and focuses on Montgomery College individuals leading from where they are. Each podcast is about 20 minutes long to allow for individuals to listen while driving, exercising, or eating lunch.


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